There are many possible ways that facilities can reduce their salt use while maintaining high-quality water in facility processes. Below are some different actions and technologies that facilities can take to improve their softeners or otherwise reduce the need for softener salt, in some cases eliminating salt use altogether.
- Optimization. In some cases, simply having a water softener professional adjust the settings on a water softener can reduce its salt use. For example, sometimes softeners are set based on very high water hardness levels, when the actual hardness may be lower (meaning the softener is regenerating more often than necessary).
- Brine reclaim. In this process, a still-usable portion of salt brine is collected during regeneration to be reused, which can reduce the softener's salt use by 25% or more.
- Softener replacement. Water softeners have a lifespan, so old, inefficient softeners should be replaced with newer, higher-efficiency models.
- Resin replacement (re-bedding). The resin in water softener tanks also has a lifespan, and when it gets old, it can operate less efficiently. Have a water treatment professional analyze the resin and have it replaced if necessary.
- Hardness sensors. These devices can be added to an existing softener system to measure the hardness of the water leaving the softener and only trigger regeneration when hard water is about to pass through, preventing the softener from regenerating prematurely.
- Re-plumbing. Water systems that don't need soft water, such as domestic cold water, can be re-plumbed to bypass the softener and reduce the softening need.
- Salt-free systems. Several devices exist that are designed to remove hardness and prevent scale buildup in systems like cooling towers without using salt.
Different options may vary significantly in cost and potential salt reductions, so not all these options would work for all facilities. However, this list is a starting point for facilities considering various approaches to reducing their salt use. Work with a water treatment professional to determine what options would work for your facilities.